Irons are one of the hardest golf clubs to purchase because they depend so much on your skill level, playing style and power that you are able to generate on shots. With so many golf clubs on the market all using different design techniques and description terms, it can be hard to follow just what an iron is supposed to do.
So here is a short breakdown of what an iron is designed to be used for and what you can expect.
What are they used for?
Irons are used for a variety of shots on a golf course, playing a shot on to or as near to the green as possible, but with a focus on accuracy rather than power and distance.
Irons are used to loft a ball high into the air to create a steep downward angle so that when the ball finally comes to the green it is able to stay on the green rather than the momentum making the ball continue to travel, like it would using a driver or fairway wood.
However it isn’t only down to the reduced momentum that irons are able to keep the ball on the green so well. The grooves in the face of the club generate a lot of backspin on the ball, which means that the ball is able to come to a stop much faster thanks to the reverse momentum.
Type of Irons
The two main styles for an iron are cavity-back, made with a hollowed out back of the club, or muscle-back, which has a full back that is made from one continuous piece of metal.
If irons aren’t the strongest tool in your golf game it is probably best to go for a cavity back club. These irons use perimeter weighting which means that the club twists less during impact so more energy is transferred to the ball. This type of iron is much more forgiving, so even on poorly struck shots players are able to maintain distance and accuracy.
Muscle back irons are for golfers who play at a higher level as they offer increased performance and shot shaping, but a lot less forgiveness so if a shot is mishit you’ll know about it.
Shafts – Graphite or Steel
Graphite shafts offer golfers further distance than steel. This is because graphite is lighter than steel and provides faster swing speeds, which is great however this does usually mean that graphite shaft options are a little more expensive.
How many irons do you need?
Usually you will need seven to eight clubs in your set of irons – 3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 irons then normal one or two wedges either a sand, pitching or approach wedge. 2 irons are available, but not very commonly seen now.
Long, Mid and Short Irons
The irons in your set are broken down into three different groups that match the performance that they offer.
Long irons, which offer the most distance on shots, typically range from 2 to 4 irons, however because the 2 iron is becoming increasingly rare 5 irons are now being considered long irons too. Long irons have the lowest loft and the longest shafts, and are designed to be used for further distance shots, typically 180 to 260 yards.
Mid irons range from 5 to 7 irons that are generally used for shots from the fairway and from the rough for long approach shots. Because of the loft that these irons provide, with a steeper angle compared to the long irons, these clubs are best for hillier fairways as to avoid a low rise.
Short irons range from 8 up to a pitching wedge are often called “scoring irons” due to being used when a player is closer to the green, with a possibility of a kind roll that has the ball finding the hole.
These clubs have a much higher loft which allows for a much more controlled shot that is predicated on accuracy rather than range.